Employees in Sibling Divisons Nervously Ask 'What's Next?'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- One day after Time Inc. gave notice to 105 unlucky employees, including some of its highest-ranking veteran executives, people inside the company -- and at sibling units within Time Warner -- are asking what’s next?
'The way that we’ve clustered magazines together is a great starting point,” said Nora McAniff, co-chief operating officer, Time Inc.
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In addition to saving on personnel costs -- a savings Time Inc. would not disclose yesterday -- the company clearly plans a run at ramping up its own brand, no longer ceding female audiences and big-event programs in the public mind to competitors like Conde Nast Publications.

The next level
“The way that we’ve clustered magazines together is a great starting point,” said Nora McAniff, who along with John Squires was appointed co-chief operating officer, new positions for the company. “This is just taking it to the next level.

“One goal in 2006, from my perspective, it to make it very clear to the marketplace what we bring and the power that we bring,” she said. “I think we’ve been quiet. You’re going to hear us talk.”

To that end, Time Inc. tapped a new brand evangelist yesterday, appointing Robin Domeniconi, who had been president and publisher of Time Inc.’s Real Simple, to handle corporate sales and marketing under Ms. McAniff.

“We’re not just a magazine company,” Ms. McAniff said. “It’s what we do, but we’re also builders and providers of content.”

Showdown with Icahn
A full-court and content-heavy press might help grow revenue faster, but could also convince Time Warner brass that Time Inc. is an efficient and forward-leaning unit, just as the parent is girding for a fight from billionaire financier Carl Icahn. Mr. Icahn has called Time Warner management “morons,” proposed splitting the company into four pieces and announced plans to try to replace the current board of directors. Steve Case, a former chairman of Time Warner, has also called for the company to be broken up.

With such intense pressure on senior management, other Time Warner units are bracing for their own cuts, especially at AOL, a unit in the midst of a transition from a dial-up service to a free portal. AOL is also on the cusp of choosing a business partner for its ad search network, with Microsoft’s MSN fighting for the business with incumbent Google. The WB network last week laid off about 20 staffers, in a move Garth Ancier called “painful and heartbreaking.”

The changes and staff cuts yesterday, the breadth of which surprised almost everyone at Time Inc. and Time Warner, were a continuation of a reorganization begun by Ann S. Moore, chairwoman-CEO, Time Inc., in July. Few said they believe that yesterday’s moves ended that process.

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